Published on : Thursday, August 22, 2019
The Central Government’s decision to scrap the special status and bifurcate the State of Jammu and Kashmir has badly hit the tourism industry as tourists have left the Valley and all the hopes of those associated with the industry have begun to crumble.
Kashmir’s famous Dal lake is deserted. The Shikarawalas have moored their boats at the banks and the road circling the lake look desolate. Almost all the tourists have left the Valley forcing the hoteliers and restaurant owners to lock their hotels.
Ghulam Nabi, 53, a Shikara owner looks downcast. He has not earned anything for the last 15 days making it difficult for him to make both ends meet. He has been running his Shikara for the last 30 years and has never faced such a situation. “I have never faced bad times. I used to earn Rs. 500-600 per day but have not earned a single rupee for last two weeks. I have never seen such a bad situation here,” he said, adding that the State has witnessed difficult times before but never has the Government issued an advisory to leave the Valley. A day after the Article 370 was abrogated and State was bifurcated, the tourists were asked to leave the Valley to avoid any untoward incident. The decision came at the peak of a tourist season and when tourist footfalls had just picked up.
One of the hotel owners in Srinagar said they have been battling with low tourist numbers for the last one year but the situation had slightly improved this season. “The situation had improved with the annual Amarnath Yatra. More tourists had started coming here, but the current situation has put final nail in the coffin of tourism in Kashmir. We are facing the worst ever crisis here,” he said, adding that it would need special efforts for the Government to reverse the situation.